Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Our commitment for a more inclusive Doctors of BC

BC doctors are a diverse group comprised of different genders, racial backgrounds, religious affiliations, sexual orientations, ages, specialties, practice locations, and more. As physicians, our members also serve a patient population that is equally as diverse in their backgrounds and in their health care needs. As such, Doctors of BC has been undertaking work to ensure that our governance bodies are representative and inclusive of the diversity of our members. We also strive to support our members in contributing to efforts to ensure that the health care system in British Columbia is culturally safe, equitable, and inclusive for both the providers who work in it and the patients who are served by it. 

Equity, diversity and inclusion in our governance bodies

As part of our broader work around equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), we are making efforts to increase the diversity and inclusivity of our governance bodies – the Board, Representative Assembly, and Committees – while also working to ensure that all members have an equal opportunity to participate in these bodies. This work is based on our member engagement and is largely driven by the recommendations in Doctors of BC’s Diversity and Inclusion Barrier Assessment Report (Barrier Assessment). This report outlines our current action plan for EDI in our governance bodies. Our Vision Statement outlines our overall aspirational commitment and vision for EDI in our governance bodies now and in the future. 

Vision statement: Our commitment to diversity and inclusion

We acknowledge that certain people in our society face unjust treatment and barriers to opportunities due to individual and societal discrimination. As Doctors of BC is a reflection of the society in which we live, certain groups of our members are underrepresented or feel less welcome in the association than others. Being a member-based association, the voice of Doctors of BC must represent the diversity of our membership, particularly those that are underrepresented. 

Therefore, we commit to ensuring that all our members have access to the same opportunities to participate and feel included in Doctors of BC. We recognize the dignity and worth of every person and will strive to ensure that all our members feel welcome, respected, and that their voice is valued regardless of gender identity, age, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, Indigenous identity, disability, location of medical education, and/or other dimensions of diversity. Meeting this commitment will enable Doctors of BC to represent our members more effectively and provide services relevant to their needs. In doing so, we will better support our members so that they can support their patients.

Equity, diversity and inclusion work

Since embarking upon this journey, Doctors of BC has undertaken a number of steps to become a more diverse and inclusive organization.   

Barrier Assessment

In 2019, Doctors of BC conducted broad member engagement on how greater diversity and inclusion could be encouraged within our governance bodies – Committees, the Representative Assembly, and the Board. The consultation focused on identifying and gaining a solid understanding of existing barriers and included a survey of over 1,400 members, focus/discussion groups, and one-on-one interviews. The information gathered during this extensive process formed the basis for the Doctors of BC Diversity and Inclusion Barrier Assessment Report. This report summarizes the findings from the consultation report and makes 57 recommendations for increasing diversity and inclusion within our governance bodies.

For a high level overview of the consultation process and findings, please take a look at the Diversity and Inclusion What We Heard report.

For a summary of the 57 Barrier Assessment recommendations and a sense of how they relate to one another, please take a look at the summary of recommendations.  

Implementation of Barrier Assessment Recommendations

Significant work has been and continues to be done behind the scenes on the feasibility and best approaches to implementing the Barrier Assessment recommendations. Since 2020, of the 57 recommendations:

  • 22 have been fully implemented
  • 28 are currently being worked on 
  • 7 are on hold as they are largely associated with in-person meetings and, therefore, will be considered more closely when there is a clear direction on what Doctors of BC’s post-COVID-19 in-person operations will be 

Current work

  • Reviewing the nominating process with the goal of enabling the Nominating Committee to more easily consider diversity, inclusion, and skills when selecting candidates to fill positions on our governance bodies. 
  • Utilizing multiple channels to communicate committee openings to try and reach a wider audience. 
  • Increasing physician awareness of opportunities to participate in governance bodies through increased promotion of opportunities and by highlighting physicians serving on committees through the “Doctors Making a Difference" section of our website.
  • Developing a process to collect data and report on the demographic diversity of our membership and members serving on our governance bodies.
  • Considering mentorship opportunities for underrepresented members to support them in getting involved in our governance bodies or taking on leadership positions. 
  • Maintaining a list of resources on our website related to diversity and inclusion and Indigenous cultural safety and humility for members to access to learn more about these issues. 
  • Continuing to develop policy on issues of importance to a wide range of our members which can be found on our policy page

Completed work

  • Published the Barrier Assessment and recommendations on the website and shared them with members via all communications channels.
  • Invested in technology to enable virtual meetings and gatherings to make participation in governance bodies more accessible for members living in rural or remote areas, members with disabilities, and members who have small children at home.
  • Assigned a staff person to facilitate the process of exploring the feasibility and best approaches to implementing the recommendations.
  • Introduced a Code of Conduct that sets a minimum standard of conduct for all members of Doctors of BC when carrying out work on behalf of the Association.
  • Improved the planning and communication of work done by the Representative Assembly to keep members informed on the RA’s work and contributions to Doctors of BC’s strategic priorities. Summaries of past RA meetings can be found here (member login required).
  • Delivered unconscious bias and diversity and inclusion training for members on committees, the Representative Assembly, and the Board.
  • Included expanded demographic questions in the Member Satisfaction Survey to better understand how different groups of our members may access our services differently, have different levels of satisfaction, and to ultimately help us learn how to serve better serve members.
  • Developed the Diversity and Inclusion Vision Statement to articulate Doctors of BC’s commitments to increase diversity and inclusion in our governance bodies. 

Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Working Group

In late 2020, Doctors of BC’s Board approved the creation of the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Working Group with the purpose of providing input on the implementation of the Barrier Assessment recommendations. The Working Group has met multiple times since then to provide advice and input on a wide range of work being undertaking around EDI in the association. 

The Working Group is comprised of seven doctors and one medical student: 

  • Dr Derek Chang, Family Doctor (Addiction Medicine specialty)
  • Dr Simone Cowan, Cardiologist
  • Dr Ahmer Karimuddin, Surgeon
  • Mr Jatinder Khatra, UBC Medical student
  • Dr Caroline Lohrisch, Oncologist
  • Dr Rola Masri, Family Doctor
  • Dr Olutoyese Oyelese, Family Doctor
  • Dr Kellie Whitehill, Gynecologist

Equity, diversity and inclusion in the health care system

Indigenous cultural safety

In 2019, Doctors of BC’s signed a Declaration of Commitment between Doctors of BC and the First Nations Health Authority. By signing this Declaration, and in partnership with First Nations and Indigenous patients, doctors agree to create an environment where cultural safety is developed, understood, embraced, and practiced at all levels in our health care system.

Doctors of BC Cultural and Community Partnership Advisor

In March 2021, Doctors of BC hired a Cultural and Community Partnership Advisor (CCPA) who is leading on all activities related to cultural safety and anti-Indigenous racism within the association. This person is dedicated and allocated to this work full-time, engaging with all areas of the association – including the Joint Collaborative Committees (JCCs) – to organize and lead our efforts. In approaching this important subject, it is critical that we have a common overall approach on matters such as policy, engagement, and education. Our CCPA is also leading a cross-organizational team on the creation of an overall plan for Doctors of BC to address the challenges and recommendations raised in the report, In Plain Sight, by Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond.

Indigenous cultural safety in the Joint Collaborative Committees

Since signing the Declaration of Commitment, the Joint Collaborative Committees (JCCs) have engaged with Indigenous communities as part of their quality improvement initiatives. The JCCs are committed to advancing cultural safety by learning more about Indigenous culture and history, engaging with First Nations communities and incorporating culturally safe care into practice. Most recently, the JCCs have engaged in discussions on how best to incorporate recommendations from the 2020 In Plain Sight report and are collaborating to advance cultural safety by:

1. Enhancing knowledge about cultural safety and humility

  • Workshops and seminars to facilitate learning about Indigenous history and cultural safety
  • Cultural Safety and Racism series with Harley Eagle (JSC)
  • Compassionate Leadership Training Pilots (JSC)
  • Sany’as Indigenous Cultural Safety training for physicians
  • Events to learn about culture and wisdom from elders

2. Engaging First Nations communities in our work 

  • First Nations representation on committees and project steering committees 
  • Indigenous Physician Network (JSC)
  • Developing relationships with First Nations Health Authority and local First Nations communities

3. Funding local Initiatives that include Indigenous Peoples 

  • Quality improvement initiatives that engage First Nations and Indigenous Peoples in planning and implementation of projects that make a difference for Indigenous patients
  • Local Indigenous led primary health care initiatives

4. Leading system Change

  • Supporting partnership with local First Nations and Indigenous communities through the Primary Care Network (PCN) development to ensure system transformation is responsive to the needs of Indigenous patients and is inclusive of Indigenous perspectives of wellness
  • Integration of cultural advisors, traditional wellness healers, and Elders in local primary care networks 

Equity, diversity and inclusion resources and information

Doctors of BC has pulled together a list of resources for learning more about equity, diversity, and inclusion.